Welcome from the Student Officers

A very warm welcome to the April/ May edition of the Teesside University Students' Union newsletter, we will get in touch every month this academic year unless you ask us to stop by unsubscribing.

We obviously want to start by recognising what a challenging and worrying time this has been for everyone following the outbreak of Coronavirus. Our thoughts are with anyone affected directly or because family and friends have suffered. It was heartbreaking for Officers and staff here at TUSU to have to cancel some of our most popular events of the year, including the Tees Wear Varsity, Society and Rep Awards, Athletic Union Awards, and particularly Final Fling. We also very reluctantly decided to close the SU Building, but, in all cases, we believe these were the right and responsible decisions to make given the potential threat to the health and wellbeing of students and other stakeholders. We hope to resume our regular service as soon as it is safe to do so, and we will do all we can to support and represent you in the meantime. Find out more in the article below or through tees-su.org.uk/coronasupport.

In this edition, we are also looking back on the recent Student Officer and NUS National Conference Rep Elections. We thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote and say well done to all of the candidates for their efforts in such a challenging period. We are delighted that Elisha Lycett (President Welfare Elect) will join the team this summer and thank all of our NUS National Conference Reps for their efforts to participate in the new-look virtual version of the Conference.

In addition, we'd urge you to take the time to complete two very important surveys while you perhaps have a little more time on your hands. Student Opinion Counts (SOC) and The National Student Survey (NSS) both close at the end of April, so don't miss out on the chance to have your say and win some great prizes.

We are also focussing on good news and have a summary of all the sporting success of our superb sports teams and individuals achieved before the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) season had to be ended early. In addition, although we sadly have not been able to congratulate them in person yet, we want to say a huge well done to everyone who won or was nominated for our Society and Rep Awards 2020. They were presented online, by George Reeves, on 1st April/. We also applaud everyone who is nominated for the Athletic Union Awards 2020. The winners will be announced on 30th April live on our social media.

Please do stay safe, follow the latest expert advice on Coronavirus, and remember that we will continue to do all that we can to support you no matter how long the current crisis prevails.

Sophie, Alan, and George – Student Officers 2019/20.


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Latest on our response to Coronavirus

Teesside University Students' Union (TUSU), like any responsible organisation, continues to follow Government directives and expert advice on minimising our impact on the spread of corona Virus. You will probably already be aware that we have, very reluctantly, cancelled or rearranged all of our forthcoming events. We also remain closed for face to face visits, so The Terrace, SU Shop, Love It Lounge, Hub, SU Studio and meeting rooms will not be available until further notice. Our SU Student Support (SUSS) and SU Activities teams continue to provide "virtual" support wherever they can through suss@tees-su.org.ukand suss@tees-su.org.uk, respectively. Please be aware, though, that they both have limited resources in the current situation and may take longer than usual to respond to you. You can keep in touch with the very latest from TUSU through tees-su.org.uk/coronasupport and on our social media, where we have regular updates. We are also posting plenty of content on our main social media channels from the Student Officers and Student Officer Elect Elisha to hopefully keep you entertained and occupied. That includes cooking demonstrations, fitness tips, fun stuff, and help with looking after your mental health while you isolate. And, if you haven't already, check out our top 10 tips for coping while you self isolate by clicking here.

We have also recently written to local landlords and letting agents requesting that they consider doing all that they can to help you through this difficult time. Our suggestions include possibly releasing students from their contracts or at least reducing rent for those who cannot leave their accommodation. You can read it here, and we will keep reporting back on the responses we get.

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Student Officer and NUS National Conference Rep Elections 2020

Students cast 707 votes on Monday, 16th, and Tuesday, 17th March, to decide the next three TUSU Student Officers (President Education, President Activities, and President Welfare) and four National Union of Students (NUS) National Conference Delegates.

Elisha Lycett, President Welfare Elect, will take over from Sophie Bennett in July and is originally from Staffordshire. She originally came to Teesside University to do a policing degree before remaining here to pursue a Masters in Criminal Intelligence and Data Analytics.

"I decided to run in the elections because I have always been aware of the Student Officers and interested in the work they did for students. I have also got involved in sports clubs, volunteered as a Freshers' Rep, and attended many events at the SU," says Elisha. "I want to use my first-hand experience of student life and the University to help ensure that the student experience here is the best it possibly can be. I am so grateful to everyone who voted for me, and I can't wait to get to work, making a difference for all students."

Congratulations, and thanks to current Teesside University students Eddie Rees, Neethu Edwin, Simon Peter Adabor, and Hajra Anjum. They represented the institution at a special "virtual" version of the National Union of Students (NUS) National Conference at the end of March, where they had a say in who leads NUS next year and the key policies they will pursue.

Find out more about the results of the election and watch video highlights of the results announcements through tees-su.org.uk/elections. We will also be helping you to get to know Elisha better throughout the next few months, too, so keep an eye on our social media and tees-su.org.uk/officers for updates from her before she takes office.

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Celebrating Student Success

Despite the premature end to physical club and society activity in the past month, we still have lots of fine collective and individual achievements from the past academic year to celebrate. We would like to congratulate everyone who was nominated for or won a Society and Rep Award. While we, sadly, couldn't present the awards in person this year we did announce winners live on social media, and we particularly congratulate:

>>> The Paramedics Society (Society of the Year), >>> Rebecca Gilling (Societies Personality of the Year) >>> Brian Kelly (School Rep of the Year), >>> The School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies (School Rep Team of the Year).

You can see a full list of winners by clicking here and we will aim to celebrate properly with them in pics and on video in the near future so stay tuned to our social media.

We also enjoyed considerable sporting success before the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) season had to be abandoned including a BUCS league title win for The Men's Futsal team. They were beaten only once as they secured the trophy and came close to a league and cup double, narrowly beaten in a BUCS cup competition. Meanwhile, Women's Rugby finished runners up in their league, and Women's Football reached the semi-finals of a BUCS cup competition. And Jodie Green (Taekwondo) shone with two gold medals in competition while Raghavendra Pujari (Also Taekwondo) picked up bronze in the men's equivalent.

Although we have, reluctantly, cancelled this year's Athletic Union Awards, we will still announce the winners live on our main social media on 29th April and also celebrate them in the next edition of this newsletter. We congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted, click here to see the full list.

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Update on our forthcoming events

You probably know by now that we have, regrettably, had to cancel or rearrange all upcoming events due to health and safety concerns around The Corona Virus. This includes everything we had planned for students such as last month's Tees Wear Varsity, The Society and Rep Awards, Athletic Union Awards at the end of this month, and Final Fling in May. Meanwhile, many of our forthcoming external events, such as birthday parties, wedding receptions, and awards dinners, have either been cancelled or rearranged for a later date when we can hopefully resume our usual service.

At the time of writing, the University still hopes to go ahead with Graduation Week in July, they and your SU will keep all Graduates updated on developments with this as soon as any are confirmed. We are also currently still planning to proceed with Freshers 2020 at the end of September, and the programme of day/ evening events will be confirmed through tees-su.org.uk/freshers later this summer.

Keep up to date with developments on all of our student events through tees-su.org.uk/events. Please send any enquiries about external events to venuehire@tees-su.org.uk.

We cannot wait to welcome you back to our venues and at our events as soon as it is safe to do so!

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Don't miss the chance to have your say! Complete the SOC and NSS surveys before the end of April!

All current students at the University can have your say about various aspects of the SU and win up to £500 for your trouble! The four short, simple Student Opinion Counts surveys cover.

  • Your student experience and the role that the SU plays in it.
  • Events and social spaces provided by the SU plus the other venues/ events you attend.
  • Advice, support, and representation provided by SU Student Support (SUSS).
  • Sports clubs, societies, and other opportunities to get more from student life through TUSU.

Most final year students at the University can also have your say about the courses and teaching you receive, your SU, and the resources/ facilities provided through The National Student Survey (NSS). It is one of the biggest and most influential student surveys around, and the findings always have a huge impact on decisions taken by the University and the SU. You could win great prizes for yourself and your coursemates by completing it too!

Complete them by 30th April through tees-su.org.uk/soc and tees-su.org.uk/nss.

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How to get help and support from your SU and our partners

In the present situation, it is sadly not possible for our SU Student Support (SUSS) team to provide their usual help with housing, money, personal problems, academic issues or other matters you may be facing. We are also not currently able to provide our listening service Nightline on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. In addition, our weekly Recovery Connections sessions our partners run in the building to help students who are overcoming drug and alcohol issues are also cancelled until further notice.

However, in all cases, we and our partners continue to offer all the "virtual" support we possibly can. You can contact SUSS through suss@tees-su.org.uk and get help with mental health issues through Mind Middlesbrough and The Samaritans, or please always call 999 in an emergency. In addition, Recovery Connections continue to offer all of the virtual support they can online, and several other agencies can provide additional assistance with drug and alcohol addiction.

We understand this is a particularly stressful and challenging time for many of you, so please do keep in touch, our partners, and we will do all that we can to help.

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Student Safety Tips

This month we, unsurprisingly, are focussing on how you can protect yourselves and others from the threat of The Corona Virus. We would urge everyone to do all that you possibly can to minimise your risk of contracting the virus or passing it to others.

1) Please follow Government guidelines about staying indoors and self-isolating if you have even mild symptoms TO THE LETTER! We know being in isolation is not easy at all, but it is VITAL that everyone follows these rules fully until further advice.
2) Wash your hands with soap for up to 20 seconds frequently throughout the day and use hand sanitiser afterwards if possible.
3) Avoid contact with your eyes or face.
4) If you need to sneeze, try to use a tissue or your sleeve...DO NOT sneeze into your hand.
5) Avoid gatherings with more than one person until further notice. Again we know this is not easy, but it is VITAL!
6) Avoid shaking hands, hugging, kissing, or other direct contact and try to keep a distance of a least 2 metres from others when out in public wherever possible. You can read the latest updates on how to stay safe and protect others through tees-su.org.uk/coronasupport.